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Best of the Restos 

Side Dishes: New 7 Nights guide on stands

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We call our guide to Vermont restaurants and bars 7 Nights, and the sixth annual issue debuts Wednesday, May 5. With a cover featuring a technicolor salad from Kismet in Montpelier, this year’s magazine offers the stats of more than 800 eateries.

Divided into 10 sections corresponding to Vermont regions, 7 Nights lists everything from coffee shops and bakeries to haute cuisine. It also spotlights 11 notable restaurants — including Verdé in Stratton, the Northeast Kingdom’s P&H Truck Stop in Wells River and the Green Cup Café & Bakery in Waitsfield. Vermont breweries, wineries and distilleries are included, as are some favorite restaurants outside our area, in southern Vermont, New Hampshire and Montréal.

And, if you want to know which businesses are participating in Vermont Restaurant Week, just look for the bright orange fork logo.

Come and Get It!

One day it’s snowing; the next day half the population of Burlington is dining al fresco on Church Street. What better time to call attention to Vermont restaurants? This week, Seven Days publishes its annual dining guide, 7 Nights. Next week, from May 14 to 20, the paper presides over the state’s first Vermont Restaurant Week. More than 50 area restaurants — from St. Johnsbury to St. Albans — are offering prix-fixe deals in an effort to make dining an affordable adventure for everyone.

The concept has taken off in hip food cities such as Seattle and New York City. We couldn’t let the land of artisan cheese, microbreweries and community-supported agriculture be last to the table.

What does Vermont Restaurant Week mean for diners? At Junior’s Italian in Colchester, 15 bucks could buy you a salad, spaghetti and meatballs, and cannoli. At Café Shelburne, $35 could get you mussels in puff pastry, duck confit with potato gratin and chocolate fondant with pistachio crème anglaise.

But there’s more to it than gorging on delicious dishes. At The Essex: Vermont’s Culinary Resort & Spa, a panel discussion of local and imported luminaries digs into what makes Vermont products and restaurants special — and what opportunities we’re missing.

What’s dinner without a movie? The Food & Wine Film Festival at Merrill’s Roxy Cinema should give diners plenty to chew on with showings of the documentaries Fresh and Food, Inc., as well as foodie-friendly fiction films.

Other events help food lovers expand their tastes along with their perspectives: a wine dinner at 156 Bistro in Burlington, a spread of craft beer and gastropub fare at Montpelier’s Three Penny Taproom, and a pairing of artisan cheeses with unique condiments at The Essex.

To whet your appetite, this issue of Seven Days digs into the subject of food. More and more, local eaters are going public about their palates. Alice Levitt sought out seven “citizen reviewers” who post critiques on our 7 Nights website and discovered what drives them to praise — or knock — an eatery. For advice on what makes a useful online review, we turned to Lara Dickson, owner of graphic- and web-design biz Deep Dish Creative.

Suzanne Podhaizer spoke with two out-of-state gourmets visiting for Restaurant Week: Chef Rob Evans, who will appear on Saturday’s panel, and fromager Tia Keenan, the artist behind what promises to be the most unusual cheese pairing the state has ever seen. Both are big fans of Vermont’s culinary culture.

Want more? Andy Bromage commandeered a table at “Vermont restaurant central” — Leunig’s Bistro — so he could interview the maître d’.

A meaty insert provides detailed menus for each participating restaurant, as well as a full calendar of Restaurant Week events.

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About The Author

Alice Levitt

Alice Levitt

Bio:
AAN award-winning food writer Alice Levitt is a fan of the exotic, the excellent and automats. She wrote for Seven Days 2007-2015.

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